PEORIA Ill.– The Peoria Gun and Knife show promoters put on shows throughout the Midwest, but due to new regulations within the Firearm Dealer License Certifications Act; that went into effect this week, gun shows could be gunned down.
“Gun shows have been on the decline because of various regulations,” Mark Craft, show promoter said.
“We’ve got a good collection of dealers that have managed to stay in business since the state of Illinois has applied their new business license on us,” Ralph Zancha of Zancha’s Firearms and Ammo said.
That permit, the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act, requires gun shops and dealers to pay a $1500 fee and have 24/7 security and keep computerized records of their guns and sales. This costing shop owners’ time and money.
“The software costs money, it costs money to implement it and just like the deal with the ammunition we’re going have to build facilities to put it under lock and key; that’ll add another employee or two because now the customer(s) have to come to ask for the ammunition instead of walking up and paying for it,” Zancha said.
The Peoria gun show brings gun dealers and buyers from all over Illinois. But recently many gun dealers are leaving the ‘Land of Lincoln’ due to these new gun laws.
U.S. Senate hopeful, looking to up-seat Dick Durbin, Dr. Robert Marshall says the state has been successful.
“1400 gun dealers have been driven out of the state in the past year or two, that’s what they’ve (the state) wanted to do and they’ve succeeded,” Marshall said.
“They’re trying to force some guys into giving up, take the easy way out,” Craft said.
Fewer dealers mean less business for show promoters.
“It’s harder to get vendors to fill these shows, so makes us harder to fill them,” Craft said.
Many say the laws are an effort to lower crime in larger cities like Chicago but lawmakers forget about responsible citizens.
“If you have a broad-based law it affects, all those people, the law-abiding people,” Marshall said.
“The problem isn’t really the guns, it’s the crime, you fix the crime, you fix the gun problem. It’s really putting an unnecessary gun burden on gun dealers due to the fact a lot of the records they’re making us keep, we already keep for the federal government,” Zancha said.
Adam Gonzales owns a business just west of Chicago; which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. He says he supports background checks and other logical gun laws that shouldn’t come to the expense of responsible gun dealers and owners.
“As gun dealers, our responsibility is to get the guns into the correct hands and do background checks. The people we’re selling guns to are not the ones that are committing the crime,” Gonzales said.
The Peoria Gun and Knife Show will be returning in March to the Expo Fairgrounds and is expected to again be a sellout show. It is the only gun show on this side of the Illinois River